The waiting game

By Shawn Parker

Strong acting powers Williamston Theatre's vital drama

At what point can acting overpower and threaten to derail a play? In the case of Williamston Theatre’s “10:53,” it’s right around the halfway point.

An intense, dialogue-driven drama, “10:53” drops you into a small hospital waiting room and lets you eavesdrop on the personal and familial struggles of Kathryn, a wife and mother struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy in the face of mounting adversity. The arrival of her 20-something daughter and repeated appearances by the enigmatic John only compound her emotional strife, until it reaches a tipping point.

Buoyed by a bravura performance by Sandra Birch as Kathryn, “10:53” struggles to keep up with her intensity. By design an intimate setting, the play can barely contain her, and might have been better served if it hadn’t. As it is, the range of emotions Kathryn goes through nearly stops some scenes in their tracks, as the other actors look as though they need to catch up. All four principal performers give stellar performances, but are engulfed by the nonstop emoting of Birch and her near one-woman show.

Rife with potent acting and refreshingly realistic dialogue, “10:53” is a vital drama that, while always engaging, feels as pent-up as Kathryn, and not quite all it could be.

Williamston Theatre
122 S. Putnam, Williamston
May 30-June 16
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3.p.m.Saturday; 2.p.m. Sunday
(517) 655-7469